Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Infertility Etiquette

As I said in my last post, people sometimes say the dumbest things to you when you are infertile. I guess sometimes they are trying to be helpful, but most of the time it really just comes across as mean and insensitive.

Just days after we found out my tubes were blocked and it was impossible for us to get pregnant on our own, we had a big dinner party at our apartment. It was the beginning of December and all of our Christmas decorations were up (we didn't have much, but it looked like a good amount since our apartment wasn't nearly as big as our house is). Someone commented on how cute the decorations were and how they needed to put theirs up. Someone else there who I didn't know as well said something to the effect of "Yeah, it must be sooo much easier to make things like that a priority when you don't have kids."

Even though what she said was rude and she had no idea of knowing our situation, it wasn't as much what she said but how she said it. She continued to make comments all night about how my life must be so easy since I didn't have kids. Even after the party, another friend apologized for how rude this lady was. I was glad that I never saw her again.

Another lady at church used to say things to me quite frequently as well. Things like "You guys go out of town a lot, it must be nice to just be able to take off like that. Those of us with kids don't get to do that." Again, it wasn't really what she said but it was how she said it. She would make a comment about things I did that I wouldn't do if we had kids every time she talked to me. After a few months of trying to avoid her, she walked up to me while someone else was discussing my fertility doctor with me. The look on her face was clear that she had no idea we weren't able to get pregnant and from that point on she never made those kinds of comments to me again that she had always made before. I guess before she thought she was going to guilt me into have children. Who knows.

On a side note - people who seemed the rudest to me about having children were in Tampa. No wonder I didn't like living there much. Maybe it is because there are a lot more people around me here who have fertility problems so as a general rule people are more sensitive to it. This isn't to say that everyone I know from Tampa was like this - most of them weren't. But if you have ever wondered this is just one of the reasons I was slightly miserable there.

Everyone knows someone that is infertile (whether you know they are or not). If you are reading my blog, then I guess you know me (I don't think anyone reads my blog that I don't know outside of cyberspace). Because everyone knows someone infertile, everyone should be a little familiar with things they shouldn't say to people who are infertile. This article has some great information about things to say or not say to someone who may be having fertility issues. You can read the article in its entirety here, but here are some of the things that stuck out to me the most.

Don't Tell Them to Relax
I'm infertile, not uptight.

Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents
Someone once said something like this to me as she ignored her kids. I went home and cried. How could she be meant to be a parent and not me? That is just ridiculous.

Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy
It is hard to believe that this one has to be stated, but a lot of friends complained to me about their pregnancies before I ever got pregnant with Jacob. Even 2 years later, I don't really want to hear women complain about how uncomfortable they are/were the last month. I would love to be pregnant and go through that last month - at least then I would know that there was a better chance of my child being healthy and not worry as much about them having problems.

But something you can do:
Remember Them on Mother's Day
One of the most depressing days of my life was Mother's Day of 2007. Not only was it Mother's Day, but it was also my 30th birthday. Only 2 of my friends remembered me at all and called to talk to me. We spent the day with Justin's family and most of them didn't even realize it was my birthday. I felt like I didn't matter at all. It is terrible to have people forget your birthday, multiply that by 10 when it is Mother's Day and you aren't a mom.


John, Carrie, Grant, and Swampy said...

I hope I never offended you. If I did, I am sorry.

Richard said...

I hope I never hurt your feelings, cause I am bad about not thinking about how what I am saying might sound.